Latest example comes from liberal darling Elizabeth Warren. Interesting thought requires originality. Which Warren did not exercise in her latest New York Times op-ed, according to Ben Mathis-Lilley of Slate.
“I’m having trouble remembering anything Warren said about it because her column sounds like it was written in 10 minutes using a bag of Progressive Political Rhetoric Clichés that someone left in a closet at the MoveOn office in late 2008,” he writes.
Where to find a solution? Mathis-Lilly recommends our friend George Orwell.
You’ve sung the song. It has an interesting history. See it here:
Even if you don’t agree with his politics, it’s easy to agree with Thomas Sowell’s idea of why vague phrases are used to manipulate voters.
Plans to “soak the rich,” for example, are popular but unrealistic and lack factual basis, writes the senior fellow at the Hoover Institute
“Whether in politics or in the media, words are increasingly used, not to convey facts or even allegations of facts, but simply to arouse emotions,” he says. “Undefined words are a big handicap in logic, but they are a big plus in politics, where the goal is not clarity but victory — and the votes of gullible people count just as much as the votes of people who have common sense.”
I don’t know about you, but I have always considered “diversity” the newest way of including people — applying to people from various races and ethnicities.
Ellen Berrey has convinced me otherwise. She describes herself as an academic but otherwise does not clarify her position in an otherwise excellent essay on Salon. She says the word is just another way to avoid talking about America’s race problem
“Even in the hands of the well-intended, diversity leaves us without a language for making sense of ongoing racism or deliberating effective policy responses,” she writes. “But with what other issue of inequity do we think that the solution is just talking about it? Health care? No. We create insurance plans that buffer people from bankruptcy. Hunger? No. We create emergency food pantries and free school lunches.”
She supports her view here: http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/diversity-white-people-big-lie-behind-well-intended-word
This essay breaks no new ground in discussing George Orwell’s novel 1984. But it does show how the books ideas continue to maintain supremacy.
Robert Hassan, Associate Professor, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne, is actually reviewing the play 1984. The play addresses the post modern surveillance state as it exists today. Hassan puts the current ideas in context.
“But physical terror alone has its limits. It must be accompanied, as Orwell saw in Mein Kampf, and in an idea he freighted into 1984, by what Hitler called ‘the big lie’, die grosse lüge. To repeat a lie as truth endlessly through narrow communication channels that people cannot avoid will convince many, or enough of them, that it is true: 2 + 2 = 5.”
Interesting what he says about Facebook.
As the meaning of certain political words evolves, the power dynamics in society often change.
David Morris, co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, discusses some of those changes over the past half century. His points are thoughtful even if you don’t agree fully.
Check out what he has to say about “welfare,” “entitlement” and “equity.” Here is his essay: http://www.alternet.org/culture/words-matter-what-language-we-use-tells-us-about-our-current-political-landscape
Those are just a few of the phrases you should avoid at work, according to Dr. Travis Bradberry, the cofounder of TalentSmart. But that might be tougher than you think, Bradberry said, because the phrases tend to creep up on you.
See his whole list of “career killers” at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/11-things-you-shouldn-t-say-at-work-a6692601.html
Poll after poll shows big government projects have lost public trust. Wide skepticism greets the announcement of any new proposed social program. Can you even remember the last time the federal government tried to fix a social program the way it did in the 1960s, 1970s and into the 1980s? What happened to the liberals?
Now even liberals run away from the term. For a while they called themselves “progressives” but that didn’t work because nobody understood the difference.
Can the diminishment liberal politics trace back to an attack on the term itself?
Liberal writer David Morris of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and ad its initiative on The Public Good, argues persuasively that political opponents first sought to demonize the word in order to undermine the philosophy.
“By the 1990s the word ‘liberal’ had almost become radioactive,” he writes on Alternet. “A famous 1996 GOPAC memo titled, Language: A Key Mechanism of Control offered election campaign advice from Newt Gingrich to Republican candidates. The memo helpfully listed dozens of words candidates should use to promote themselves and denounce their opponents. On the negative list was the liberal along with words like ‘intolerant,’ ‘traitors’ and ‘corrupt.’”
Disdain is the usual tone of political commentators reporting on the latest analysis of Presidential contender Donald Trump’s language.
He typically uses small words in short sentences.
When I teach my college writing classes, I call that style “effective.”
Guess what? The world is not waiting on your every word. You need to get to the point quickly. Trump either knows that and practices the skill or — more likely — he does it naturally. His bombastic style gets him attention so with that positive feedback, he has been honing his short blocky style for years.
Here’s what the website Politico says: “It’s obvious that Trump’s verbal deficit, as grating as it may be on the ears of the educated class, has not caused him much political pain. The media has noted the opposite: Trump’s overreliance on sports and war metaphors in his public utterances, his reductionist, one-dimensional policy prescriptions—including nuanced geopolitical arguments such as get tough with China and Mexico, which are killing us!—inspire trust in many rather than distrust.”
The measurement is widely misunderstood, but Trump’s Reading Ease score is 3rd or 4th grade. That’s the way to reach a mass audience. You want people to understand you on the first pass — not have to outline and take notes.
Listen to this: “The disintegration of language is sometimes treated as a curiosity or overlooked. But the danger of this corruption is serious, because language must be stable to ensure the exchange of comprehensible ideas.”
That’s from an essay by F.J. Rocca. I never heard of him either. But the essay is interesting.
Judge for yourself: http://thefederalist.com/2015/07/23/why-words-matter-for-defending-freedom/